Snowboarding with Crystal Ski Holidays

'Have you snowboarded before?'

'No.'

'Skied?'

'No.'

'Do you skateboard? Rollerblade?'

'No...'

As I gulped and glanced nervously past the instructor and up the snow slope, I suddenly wondered why I'd volunteered to strap a wooden board to my feet and throw myself down a hill.


When Crystal Ski Holidays invited me snowboarding at Snow Factor, I buried my nerves and signed up. Okay, so I don't have any skiing or snowboarding experience, but I figured it was one of those invitations that you 'just say yes' to, then worry about the details later.

As I slipped and wobbled across the snow, I started to regret my earlier bold attitude! 

Thankfully our instructor, Connor from Snow Factor, was an absolute pro - calm, patient and relaxed, it was obvious he has plenty of experience teaching nervous newbies. He started by explaining how the snowboard is put together and how to comfortably bind and release your feet. After that we worked up a sweat (or, at least, I did - Connor could probably do it in his sleep!) by practicing how to walk up the slope with one foot free and the other strapped to the board, swinging your strapped foot in the air behind you 'as if you're trying to hit yourself in the head with the board' - nowhere near as dangerous as it sounds because the board is so heavy that I could barely lift it!

We then practiced how to go from lying on the snow to getting back up on your board, whether that's from your starting position or because you've fallen over - turns out the latter came in handy very quickly!



After a few practice walks uphill and on level ground - honestly much harder than it sounds with a snowboard strapped to one foot! - we edged a little way up the hill and Connor gently showed us how to slide back down, getting used to the sensation of being strapped to the board and moving on the snow, as well as practicing the core balance we needed to stay upright.

After a few practice glides (although 'gliding' is a little bit of an over-exaggeration for my shaky wobbles downhill!), we grabbed the rope tow and made our way to the top of the beginner's slope.

Gulp.

From here Connor demonstrated how to shift our weight from our toes to our heels, smoothly rocking back and forth, to move downhill. I was so nervous about this part that I completely forgot to ask why we were to go down the hill backwards - do any snowboarding fans reading know why?! I really hope Connor wasn't just having a laugh...

I'm going to come clean: I fell over, a lot. At first I was rocking back and forth so slowly that it was easy to fall the recommended way, on to my knees, when I lost my balance - but, as I tried to push myself to move more smoothly and quickly, I accidentally tumbled backwards (over and over again). Despite being petrified of falling when we first stepped out on to the snow, it really wasn't that sore - in fact, I was more annoyed than anything as my determined streak kicked in to get it right!



Connor stayed nearby to call out advice or lend a hand when things went really skew-whiff, but he gave us the freedom to really give it a go ourselves - which meant we made our way up and down the slope over and over again to try to perfect our technique. 

It wasn't easy and it was a tough workout (who knew you could get so sweaty in -4°c temperatures?!) but it was also really blooming addictive - even after taking a tumble several times in a row, I never wanted to give up. I forced myself back on to my feet over and over again and pushed on with it. I went from being someone who has never snowboarded in her life to someone who was determined to be signed off on the Snowboarding Skills Level 1 by the end of the lesson.

And, do you know what? I only went and did it! Despite my shaky start, Connor was able to sign off my record of achievement booklet - this goes right up to Level 5, but now I'm one level closer! 

It's been a long time since I challenged myself to something so different, so I really felt like I'd earned my drink with Kirsty from Crystal Ski Holidays afterwards! I had a nosy through their brochure packed full of Pinterest-worthy photographs of their resorts across the world and got serious travel envy. Kirsty is a seasoned skier who worked on resorts before joining their office in London, so she was able to recommend which countries to visit depending on what you're looking for and your skills level. 

While I might be itching to book a trip to Finland, I think I'll need a few more lessons before I can hit the slopes for real - although, considering I've already checked out the price for a block of lessons at Snow Factor, I think I might have caught the bug already!


I was invited to Snow Factor as a guest of Crystal Ski Holidays but all opinions are my own - and, yes, I am the person with the red jacket and snowy bum who has fallen over in the last photograph...

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